Prescription Pills Addiction: What It Looks Like

prescription pills addiction

Are prescription pills additive? The short answer is; yes. Yes, you can become addicted to prescription pills. The longer answer is also going to be yes because when you strip it all away, the addictive quality of a drug or a person’s own predisposition to an addictive nature doesn’t go away just because a doctor prescribed the medicine.

As your brain starts to change from abusing drugs, even ones your doctor writes for, it gets more and more difficult to practice self-control and fight the urge to take more. Their effects and what they’re designed to do are just too effective.

 

Prescription Pills Addiction

There’s an easy trust and ultimately a genuine perception that because a doctor is recommending and endorsing a prescription pill regimen that it’s fully safe. This isn’t to say that doctors don’t deserve trust or don’t have your best interests in mind, most of the time it works out fine, but it’s important to know that these substances are addictive. Even while controlled and meant to be taken in a specific manner, they still can hook you.

 

Commonly Prescribed Pills 

There are a lot of pills you or your loved one can be prescribed but the most common, and most topical, are benzodiazepines and opioids. According to the National Institute of Health, more than 30% of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepine (colloquially called “benzos”).

Benzodiazepine

Benzos are central nervous system depressants, some of the most familiar being Xanax, Ativan and Valium. They are commonly prescribed for things like anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal and seizures. These function as tranquilizers and sedatives for the most part.

Opioids

Opioids are painkillers and are used to treat all sorts of chronic and severe pain that people commonly have. Everything from headaches to recovery from surgery to those undergoing cancer treatment. Opioids are widely used and extremely widely prescribed. The most well known are Codeine, Fentanyl, Oxycodone and Morphine.

The scourge of opioid addiction shows up in the dramatically increased number of overdose deaths over the years which increased by 5 times between 1999 and 2016. In a similar span, 1996 to 2013, benzodiazepine prescriptions increased by nearly 70%.

As previously mentioned, the combination of the two is particularly lethal because they work to suppress breathing and sedate the user.

Signs of Prescription Pill Addiction

There’s a wide array of signs that addiction may be taking hold, concerning opioids and benzos in particular, here are things to keep an eye out for;

Opioids

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Feeling high
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Drowsiness

Benzodiazepines

  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Increased dose needed to relieve pain
  • Worsening or increased sensitivity to pain with higher doses
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Unsteady walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with memory
  • Slowed breathing

 

There’s quite a bit of overlap between the two and like anyone worried about their loved one potentially being addicted to anything, let alone something that’s prescribed by a medical professional, it’s important to pay close attention to these signs so they don’t exacerbate. 

Naturally, when confronted, your family member or friend will very likely deny they have a problem with their prescription. They’ll work to downplay the severity of it. Don’t take them at their word, things can easily snowball as the user begins taking ever-increasing doses as they build a tolerance to the drugs. The situation can go from manageable to unmanageable in what feels like the blink of an eye.

 

Get Help at Principles Recovery Center

At Principles Recovery Center in South Florida, we’ve seen the damage that addiction to prescription drugs can cause and have helped countless patients through the journey to getting their lives back, if this is something that touches your life or the life of someone you know, please reach out to us today and let us help! 

What To Do After Rehab

friends helping each other with what to do after rehab

It’s long been said that recovery is a lifelong process and while it may feel or sound cliché, it’s undeniably true. You’ve done the immensely challenging work of getting clean; the detox, the inpatient treatment, group therapy, spoken with counselors, yoga, etc. You’ve done some or all of it and more and that alone is absolutely cause for celebration.

The long journey may have been difficult, but it was guided and there was comfort in the warm embrace of a deeply caring environment. In your time in treatment, you learned to not underestimate the power of addiction and while you fully grasped and understood that it’s an ongoing part of your life, now that you’ve “graduated” back into that daily life it can all feel overwhelming. That despite the best-laid plans.

Where do you even begin after rehab?

Make and Stick to Your Plan

In all likelihood, you created a plan towards the end of your rehab program to help set you up for long-term success in sobriety. 

The likelihood of staying clean increases massively if you have a plan of continued action to follow. That may include things like continued one-on-one therapy or counseling, a medication regimen, check-ups to ensure progress.

 The key now is to hold yourself accountable to it. Whatever the plan is, whatever appointments you’ve made for, it’s imperative to stick with them.

Get Into a Support Group

Aside from friends and family, a support group of like-minded people who share the experience of addiction and recovery can work wonders. Chats about hardship with your close confidants are great but coming together to discuss issues with people who really understand what you’ve gone through are indispensable. 

There are many to choose from but the most well-known method is via a 12-step program which includes Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous for example. If you’re looking for something different than the 12-step approach, SMART Recovery (self-management and recovery training) is a popular option.

There’s a whole world of support groups that align with the values, needs and wants of every individual. Finding the right one for you just takes a bit of research.

Make New (Sober) Friends

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start from scratch and build an entirely new friendship circle but you do need to break it off with any drug and alcohol using pals. Dropping yourself back into the mix with folks that have carried on with the same life of using, is setting yourself up for relapse. Ideally, you’ll have made some newly sober pals throughout rehab but if your recovery plan includes any type of group work you can build friendships there.

The idea is to try to surround yourself with people who won’t influence you adversely and who will actively share in or encourage your sobriety goals. They will also be able to introduce you to new, sober activities to do after rehab

what to do after rehab

Help Others

This is a powerful way to spread the love, helping other people helps the giver as much as the receiver. In addition to being a way to further share and grow from common experiences, helping others serves as a way to hold yourself personally accountable. It reminds you how far you’ve come and ushering someone down that same path boosts their self-esteem and yours.

It’s a supremely rewarding post-rehab activity if you can handle it.

We’re Here to Help After Drug and Alcohol Rehab

No matter which route you choose, you control your destiny with respect to what happens to your life after rehab. You’ve certainly been equipped with many tools to succeed but it’s not enough to sit back and relax. Sobriety is something that needs to be constantly tended to and worked on. At Principles Recovery Center in Davie, Florida we recognize the importance of aftercare in your long term success and offer a wide array of options to suit your individual needs. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you with what to do after rehab.